Wednesday, February 10, 2016

4 Out of 5 Star Wars Comics in the Top 10 in January

The Comics Chronicles released the January 2016 estimated sales earlier this week.  Marvel released yet more new superhero titles, but the Star Wars titles held strong with 4 out of the 5 Star Wars comics placed in the top 10 for the month.

TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Star Wars144118,471139,918-15.33%
Star Wars155107,855118,471-8.96%
Obi-Wan and Anakin17102,861N/AN/A
Darth Vader15998,40597,457+0.97%

The Vader Down event definitely did not help the long term sales of the main Star Wars title.  The title certainly saw a bump in sales during the event, so in that regard, Vader Down worked.  But the first issue after Vader Down, Star Wars #15, has lost over 15,000 units compared to the issue prior to the event.  (Star Wars #12 sold 123,133 units in November and Star Wars #15 sold 107,855 units in January.)  Looking at the previous months, that is a higher loss than the title has been trending.  Events force retailers to evaluate actual sales.  Many times, this result in even lower sales than normal when the event ends.  Without events, I suspect most retailers would order titles month to month mostly on autopilot.  So, Vader Down looks to have been a short term gain but a long term loss.  We will know for sure next month when we see the numbers for Darth Vader #16.

TitleIssueEstimated Sales
Princess Leia1253,655
Shattered Empire1208,884
Obi-Wan and Anakin1102,861

The newest mini-series, Obi-Wan and Anakin, debuted in January with 102,861 units sold.  This is the lowest selling mini-series #1 yet.  With the exception of Shattered Empire, each subsequent mini-series sold less copies than the previous mini-series.  I am not yet convinced this is a trend so much as sales being dictated by the headline character(s) in the mini-series.  Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker received considerable attention when Dark Horse owned the Star Wars license, for obvious reasons.  Marvel releasing a mini-series led by these two characters has a been-there-done-that feeling to it.

Kanan #10 shed over 2,800 copies which is another decent drop for the title.  This title is due to end with Kanan #12.  This titles replacement, the ongoing Poe Dameron series will sell better than some, if not all, the Star Wars titles when it is released in April.

The following table shows the total number of Star Wars units sold per month since January 2015 along with the average number of sales per issue.  Note this chart does not include reprints.

Month/YearTotal Estimated Sales# IssuesAverage Sale per Issue
January 2015985,9761985,976
February 2015526,4513175,484
March 2015596,2994149,075
April 2015537,8124134,453
May 2015324,8353108,278
June 2015396,931499,232
July 2015597,0235119,404
August 2015430,241586,048
September 2015551,8805110,376
October 2015953,2891095,329
November 20151,003,9548125,494
December 2015507,545684,591
January 2016465,698593,139

The average sale per issue would rank 11th on the top 300 chart for the month of January.  The Star Wars titles saw an increase in this average over last month.

The real story for the month is with the Star Wars trade paperbacks.  I am hoping to add an analysis of trade paperbacks in the near future.  The blog, Walking Dead #150, Star Wars trades lead traditionally light January comic sales volume, did a good analysis of the impact of Star Wars trade paperbacks sales last month. Take a look at the Star Wars Sales Estimate Chart and please read the blog posting January 2016 comics sales estimates online: The difference five years makes.

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